Uber says it will continue to ban white supremacists from its platform

Uber sent a message to drivers and company employees earlier today condemning the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia and pledging to ban white supremacists and other members of hate groups from its platform. “There is simply no place for this type of bigotry, discrimination, and hate,” Regional General Manager Meghan Verena Joyce wrote in a message that was posted publicly on Twitter by New York Times journalist Mike Isaac.

The message goes on to say that Uber will “act swiftly and decisively to uphold our Community Guidelines, including our policy against discrimination of any kind — that includes banning people from the app.” This is Uber’s first official message on the violence perpetuated by white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and other hate groups in Charlottesville. It is not, however, the company’s first instance of action against those affiliated with the “Unite the Rally” event.

Over the weekend, Uber banned notable white supremacist James Allsup after Allsup and his passenger, alt-right personality Tim “Baked Alaska” Gionet, made racist remarks while riding past the National Museum of African-American History and Culture in Washington, DC. The Uber driver, an unidentified black women, felt so uncomfortable that she asked the two to leave the car. Uber then “permanently removed” Allsup from its platform, the company confirmed in a statement obtained by BuzzFeed News.

Uber’s response is just one of many from corporations, politicians, celebrities, and business leaders in the past week that have definitively condemned the hate groups in Charlottesville following the death of counter-protestor Heather Heyer. Distancing one’s self from neo-Nazis may not seem all that bold or remarkable. Yet these statements from Uber and other tech companies — including Facebook, Twitter, Airbnb, Google and others — stand in stark contrast to the position of President Donald Trump, who failed to immediately condemn white supremacists for Saturday’s violence and who, in recent days, has tried to cast blame on “both sides” and defended protestors wishing to preserve Confederate monuments.

Moving beyond statements into actions, Uber’s decision to ban white supremacists, ostensibly based on the personal accounts of riders and drivers, marks a notable shift in how platform-owning tech companies respond to online hate, especially those who deal in real-world interactions. While many tech companies have typically taken more liberal approaches to free speech — and some continue to have inconsistent approaches — a line has now been drawn at allowing hate groups that actively seek to commit offline violence from using these platforms to organize and communicate.

Facebook said yesterday it would take a more active role in scrubbing its site of violent threats. Airbnb has used its Community Commitment, first released back in October to prevent racial discrimination, as a tool to ban white supremacists and affiliated members of the alt-right movement from seeking lodging on its platform for Charlottesville, and the company says it will continue to do so. (Airbnb says it will identify these users “through our background check processes or from input of our community.”) Web hosting providers like GoDaddy, Google, and even the free speech-friendly CloudFlare have also taken a stand against neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer, forcing it to the dark web.

Comments

There should be a national white supremacist registry like the sex offender registry. \s

There should be considering they’re terrorists..?

It’s called the criminal Justice system once they act on those beliefs. Otherwise it’s not illegal for them to have those thoughts or to verbalize then, regardless of how deplorable they are. Next you’ll suggest placing a mark on those people’s doors or how about we round then up into camps for merely thinking like that.

Are you comparing thinking minorities are genetically inferior, making offensive remarks in their cars about this to them, and calling for their genocide… To being born Jewish?

Private company.

Otherwise it’s not illegal for them to have those thoughts or to verbalize then, regardless of how deplorable they are.

Nobody said it was illegal. But what these companies are doing is not illegal either. Political opinion is not considered "protected speech" or a protected class and therefore private companies are perfectly within their rights to refuse to do business with people who have extreme ideologies that disrupt their community standards.

The right to free speech might keep you out of jail, but it does not protect you from the judgement of society, your employers, or private business when you cross the line.

"Uber says ‘there is simply no place’ for bigotry or hate"

bigot
[big-uh t]
noun
1. a person who is utterly intolerant of any differing creed, belief, or opinion.

Interesting, I guess Uber banned themselves from their own service.

Interesting how that was omitted from the article …

Personally, I will draw the line for tolerance at intolerance.

Except you’ve now also become intolerant.

Intolerance x Intolerance= Tolerance

Being tolerant of Nazis is fucking absurd and you should feel shame at even suggesting such a thing.

Nazis went out and killed people. There is no reason to tolerate anyone who physically harms others, regardless of belief (whether it’s left, right, Nazis, Jews, Muslim, Christians and etc.), but it’s a whole different matter when it’s not going out actively harming or advocating the physical harm of other groups.

Obviously I’m not talking about tolerating the Charlottesville white supremacists, as they went out and caused harm.

Tolerating Nazi ideology, letting it fester and build, thinking "its OK, that kind of extremism can’t reality take hold here" is exactly the naive thinking that allowed how the Nazis rose to power in the first place. Allowing white supremacists to think its OK to hold rallies with torches denouncing Jews and blacks and gays only emboldens them to take it further.

Tolerating diversity does not mean we must tolerate the ideology of those who aim to destroy diversity. You are either in the game or you are out out.

Ah, the good old us vs. them rhetoric.

Ah, the good old us vs. them rhetoric.

You better believe there is an "us" v "them" when it comes to people who advocate a "master race", deporting or jailing non white people, criminalizing homosexuality again, etc. Because there are a whole lot of people who denied that possibility during the rise of Nazis the first time and many of them did not come out the other side alive.

Diversity only works when the diverse people in society value such diversity. When one group wants to tear it apart they lose the right to participate in such a social contract.

Are we going to have to repost that Karl Popper infographic every time this comes up?

Laymen always hijack the arguments of philosopher without realising that:

1.) By using their arguments without understanding them, you’re essentially just appealing to authority (an informal fallacy).

2.) Popper did indeed say intolerance should not be tolerated, but only on the grounds that the intolerant would suppress the tolerant. That includes oppressive states that silence or kill certain groups (like Nazis), but clearly also major corporations silencing unpopular views.

3.) Popper’s words are not the words or God or whatever higher authority. John Rawls would disagree with suppressing the intolerant, but would again likely draw the line at self-preservation, so no people who are advocating tolerance are not saying you should sit around and let Nazis take over (something I more or less agree with).

The wiki article Paradox of Tolerance is something people should give some time reading (and reading the sources as well) and thinking about rationally rather than letting their emotions dictate their conclusion.

No, no I don’t think so. Refusing to tolerate hate speech doesn’t make me equivalent to those espousing hate speech.

A part of the confusion probably comes from the way different people define "tolerance". By tolerance, most philosophers mean allowing the group to publicly speak their opinion, it doesn’t mean you have to agree with them, and it doesn’t mean you’re not free to disagree with them publicly.

Silencing them is an act of intolerance. Disagreement is not.

Silencing them? What these tech companies are doing is well within their right as private organizations – to disagree, to refuse to do business, and in the case of Google and GoDaddy and CloudFlare, to refuse to give them a podium for their hateful ideologies. It is a far cry from the bullying tactics that people on the far-right use, and certainly not "intolerance".

And no. I will certainly go beyond just "disagreeing" with hate speech that targets, belittles, and harms other people. Allowing people to bully others under the guise of your (IMO) overly-generous definition of tolerance only makes you complicit in their act.

I have my limits, of course. I won’t threaten, inflict bodily harm, or do anything illegal. Within those boundaries, nothing I do is remotely intolerant. And if your philosophers deem me to be "intolerant" nevertheless, then I’d rather be that than allow these people to carry on. It is more important to me that hate speech is eliminated than whether people think I’m hypocritical or intolerant.

I don’t think anyone is claiming that the companies are doing something illegal (or at least I think that’s what you mean when you say "not within their rights"; companies are not humans and do not have rights). That doesn’t mean there can’t be a debate as to whether there are deeper moral consequences (which is independent from whether it’s legal).

Anyways, this is a sensitive topic to a lot of people so I can see why it would hinder the ability to think rationally rather than emotionally about it. I disagree with you, but civil disagreement is an important part of democracy, so I hope you never end up being in the silenced group for any of your views.

Not everyone who disagrees with you is being emotional. Rationality doesn’t dictate a single outcome – all logic stems from axioms. The difference between you and I is that we believe in different axioms.

I don’t think everyone who disagrees is being emotional, but I do think handwaving away carefully thought out arguments by some very intelligent philosophers, without directly engaging their actual argument, is a symptom of emotions rather than rationality.

Is this The Verge now?

Every time a new company issues a "we are banning white supremists too" press release they write another article?

It’s far bigger than that and you’re missing the point. This site is covering exactly how major platforms are attempting to counter the rising prevalence of hateful ideology by leveraging their power / ubiquity. Many argue that these companies aren’t or haven’t done enough, and the coverage tries to debate stifling of free speech vs completely shutting out nazis et al.

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